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Teach children how to navigate the NHS, RPS Scotland says

Schoolchildren should be taught how to navigate the NHS, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in Scotland has said.

Responding to a Scottish Parliament Health and Sport Committee consultation, ‘What should primary care look like for the next generation?’, the RPS said that increased public understanding of the different roles in integrated health and social care systems depended on relevant education.

“Health literacy in schools from an early age to inform around how to navigate the NHS will be essential in the longer term”, the Society said, adding that the public “must realise that not always seeing a GP is an enhanced service rather than a diminished one”.

The RPS also said that the care given to patients in community pharmacy “should focus on the clinical care delivered along with supply and be resourced accordingly”. This aligns with work from Community Pharmacy Scotland who, as part of their negotiations around the revamped national minor ailments service, are calling for patient consultations to be remunerated, regardless of whether an item was ultimately dispensed.

Among other recommendations to the Committee, the RPS reiterated its call for community pharmacist access to patient health records.

“Some essential steps need to be taken to decrease the risk to patient safety over the next ten years,” it said, adding that “Scotland is now lagging behind England and Wales in this respect”.

Jonathan Burton, chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board, will give oral evidence to the Committee at a session due to be held on 1 October 2019.

The full consultation response is available on the RPS website.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207012

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